Daily Digital Pulse of China: Alibaba, Alipay, The Vatican, M-Commerce, and Weibo
Alibaba to Start Telecom Services in China
Alibaba, China’s biggest e-commerce group, will be launching Chinese telecom services in June. The company received China’s first mobile virtual network operating licenses late last year. The exact details of the services will remain under wraps, but it has been reported that Alibaba has coordinated with China’s major telecom companies – China Mobile, China Telecom, and China Unicom – to offer the ultimate services to millions of mobile users. Alibaba is actually among 11 companies approved by Chinese regulators to operate virtual network in China.
Source: Wall Street Journal
Alipay Moves Beyond Alibaba with Rakuten
Last week, Rakuten, one of the main e-commerce players in Japan, started accepting Alipay payments, making life much easier for Chinese consumers to take advantage of the Japanese international marketplace.
Rakuten’s Japanese marketplace is massive, with 42,000 sellers, while its international one (Rakuten Global) is still relatively small, with about 10,000 sellers. At this moment of time, only about 250 sellers on Rakuten Global accept Alipay, but eventually all Rakuten sellers who ship to China will be accepting Alipay.
Source: China Topix
The Vatican to go digital
A Japanese IT firm will work in tandem with NTT Data in order to ‘digitize’ the Vatican Library which was founded in 1451, and contains more than 82000 manuscripts, some of which are 1800 years old. The first round of documents is set to take 4 years, and will only cover 3000 documents. At the speed at which things are being done now it will take more than 100 years to digitize everything. The first sets of documents are set to be online by the end of 2014 and the documents are expected take up 43 quadrillion bytes of storage space, and will be backed up in case files are accidentally deleted or corrupted. The initial 4-year phase is expected to cost around $25 million, but NTT Data are hoping that some of their expenses will be compensated by donations made through the library’s website.
M-Commerce in China flies
Mobile commerce, commonly known as M-Commerce is in full swing, and the statistics show it. Sales are set to exceed $51 billion by the end of this year, with an average of 50% growth over the next 2 years, exceeding $115 Billion by 2016. Year on year, M-Commerce has grown 165.4% since 2012, however the trend is expected to slow as the market saturates. 69% of Chinese consumers have purchased a product through their Smartphone’s, compared to only 46% in the US. In terms of online mobile platforms, Taobao accounts for 76.1% of the market, and interestingly Amazon only accounts for 0.6%. On the Taobao platform, more than 80% of the purchases are made through Smartphone’s, and purchases take on average 67 seconds quicker than PCs. All these stat’s go to show just how big the M-Commerce market is, and how quickly it’s developing. It will be interesting to watch the rest of the world to see if they will follow this trend.
Source: Resonance China
Weibo’s low profile IPO
Sina Weibo – a Chinese micro-blogging website and effectively a hybrid of Facebook and Twitter, listed on the NASDAQ on Friday. Weibo has 143.8 million active users, which is significantly less than twitter’s 241 million. Weibo’s IPO was relatively subdued and conservative and when the shares actually debuted they were at a mere $16.27. Only 16.8 million of its 20 million shares were subscribed to. After the days close however, the shares were up to $20.24, a 24% increase. Weibo is now valued at $3.4 billion, and will be an interesting share to watch as it marks yet another social media platform going public.
Source: Tech In Asia